28 September 2010
And so it begins. Yesterday it was reported that the beseized offensive line was shaken up by benching guard Greg Gaskins, moving tackle Lucas Nix to guard and starting redshirt junior Jordan Gibbs (6'7", 305 lbs) to take over at right tackle. Chris Jacobson and Alex Karabin held on to their spots while interior linemen Jack Lippert and Ryan Turnley seem to be the top reserves.
"When you get beat like we did on Thursday, as a coach, you have a tendency to look at everything under the microscope a lot closer after a loss than after a win."
On other possible changes on offensive line
"We would like to get (back-up center) Jack Lippert some playing time. Center is not a position you can rotate guys in and out because of the rhythm with the quarterback and the snap count, you would be hurting your team more than helping. But Jack is a guy that we would like to get more work."
I've really hated being so negative lately, but the line has really struggled thus far and a change was sorely needed. I would even be ok with a temporary benching of Jacobson - mostly because Pitt should roll FIU - in the hopes of lighting a fire under him. There's no reason for a player with his amount of ability and experience in the system to not perform at a high level.
Wannstedt takes a lot of heat for being stubborn, often rightfully so, but he did the right thing here by adjusting to what was not working. The original configuration of the line had it's chance, it didn't work, and now it's time to adjust.
Not only did this team lose Houser, Thomas and Malecki, it also lost a superior tight end in Nate Byham:
Last season, the Panthers had Nate Byham, one of the best blocking tight ends in the country. His strength and athleticism made him virtually another tackle, who could take on defensive linemen by himself and often manhandle them.
Wannstedt also said the tight ends' inability to run block could force some changes in the playbook.
"Tight end is probably a position that is taken for granted when you're running your power game, and you're running your toss sweeps and your stretch game. The point man there is really your tight end," Wannstedt said. "That happened when we had the third down and 3 on the goal line. We have a wing (blocker), we run a power (play), and their defensive end gets penetration up the field, up and under our tight end. Was it a mistake mentally? No. It was a physical thing."
Fair enough. Redshirt sophomore Mike Cruz is just not a physical player yet in his career. I'd also watch for transfer Andrew Devlin and/or redshirt freshman Brock DeCicco (brother of Dom) to get some looks next week against FIU.
|< Prev||Next >|